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Banker Says 'Billions' In Cash Leaving Afghanistan

Real and counterfeit banknotes on display in Kabul (file photo)
A senior Afghan banking official says wealthy Afghans are carrying an estimated $8 billion -- almost double the state budget -- in cash out of the country each year.

Deputy central bank governor Khan Afzal Hadawal told Reuters news agency that confidence in the Afghan economy, amid the country's continuing violence and instability, is so eroded that cash has been leaving Afghanistan in suitcases and carry-on bags and taken to safe havens in Dubai and elsewhere.

The report says some former government officials have been linked to carrying millions in cash out of the country.

Hadawal said the outflows, and an expected sharp drop in foreign aid, could take a further heavy toll on the Afghan economy.

U.S. aid to Afghanistan fell from $4.1 billion in 2010 to $2.5 billion in 2011.

Based on Reuters reporting